Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Sex and the archbishop

Installing the openly gay Jeffrey John as bishop would be a decisive victory for Rowan Williams. But if he's beaten, he's finished

The fact that Jeffrey John has been nominated as Bishop of Southwark is intriguing. That it has been leaked reveals a great deal about the civil war within the church of England. Seven years ago Rowan Williams' attempt to get his old friend into the much less important job of Bishop of Reading led to his first – and, it seemed, decisive – defeat at the hands of hardline evangelicals. He cracked after two months of pressure and asked John to withdraw his name, establishing his reputation as a man who could be bullied. If he is beaten again, he is finished. If he wins, he will have shot the rapids and the Church of England will finally emerge from the turbulence of the last 30 years with a fairly clear and fairly coherent doctrine about sex. Read more

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